Zereshk Polo ba Morgh recipe | Persian Saffron Barberry Rice with Poussin | igotitfrommymaman.com #persianfood #persianrecipes
Chicken Dishes Persian Classics Persian Rice

Zereshk Polo ba Morgh – Persian Saffron Barberry Rice with Poussin

Zereshk Polo ba Morgh is such a popular dish, especially among my European friends. I mean, tender chicken with a delicious sauce and aromatic saffron rice with sweet, slightly sour barberries? What’s not to love? So this is a great dish to cook for your friends and family.

In this recipe I switched things up a bit. I added potato slices to the tadig (tadig is the crispy part of the rice from the bottom of the pan, that people usually fight about). This is not common for Zereshk Polo, so feel free to skip this if you want the authentic dish.

I made the Aabkesh version of Zereshk Polo, which means I pre-boiled the rice and then let it steam until cooked. If you prefer the easier (and more nutritious) version of Kateh rice, feel free to prepare it that way. You can find my Kateh rice recipe here. Simply use that one and return to this page for the additional steps you need in order to cook a delicious Zereshk Polo.

I made my Khoresh-e Morgh with tomato puree this time. This makes the chicken sauce or stew more, well, tomatoey. If you prefer Saffron Chicken, simply ditch the tomato puree and use 1/4 tsp saffron instead. Actually, I have a separate recipe for this, which you can find here. It is essentially the same though.

Zereshk Polo ba Morgh recipe | Persian Saffron Barberry Rice with Poussin | igotitfrommymaman.com #persianfood #persianrecipes

Would you like to learn how to master this and 11 other classic Persian dishes from the comfort of your own home? Check out my Persian Classics Cooking Course, in which I guide you through each dish in bitesized step-by-step videos. I explain which equipment is helpful when it comes to Persian cooking and walk you through the special ingredients, that are commonly used in Persian cuisine.

So without further ado, let’s get to it:

Ingredients (Serving 4 people):

For the Zereshk Polo

2 cups / 400g basmati rice

1/2 cup dried barberries

1 to 2 tbsp slivered pistachios

1 to 2 tbsp slivered almonds

1 potato/ 3 baby potatoes (optional / if you want to make potato tadig)

4 tbsp vegetable oil

3 tsp sugar

2 tbsp salt

For the chicken

2.2lbs / 1 kg chicken (I used 2 poussins but you could use 4 chicken legs or any part of the chicken you like)

4 tbsp vegetable oil

4 tbsp tomato paste

1 medium onion

2 cups / 470ml water

2 tsp turmeric

1 tsp black pepper

Salt to taste

Time

Prep: 15 min

Cook: 1h 15 min

Total: 1h 30 min

Zereshk Polo ba Morgh recipe | Persian Saffron Barberry Rice with Poussin | igotitfrommymaman.com #persianfood #persianrecipes

Method of preparing Zereshk Polo

Bloom the saffron for the rice

Grind the saffron threads using pestle and mortar. Alternatively you can use the bottom of a glass and crush the saffron threads on a plate. Transfer the ice cubes into a glass. Sprinkle the ground saffron for the rice over the ice cubes. Set it aside in a warm place. This will allow the melting ice cubes to absorb the maximum amount of colour and flavour of the saffron, giving the rice a bright yellow colour.

Prepare the chicken

Heat a frying pan and add the vegetable oil. Once the oil is hot carefully place the chicken legs in the pan. Turn them after a few minutes using kitchen tongues and let the other sides brown for a further couple of minutes.

Peel and quarter the onion. Transfer what is left of the vegetable oil you used to brown the chicken into the pot you want to stew the chicken in. Let it heat up to medium temperature and add the onion quarters to it. Sauté them for a few minutes, then add the tomato paste, turmeric and black pepper. Stir the paste for a few seconds, then add the freshly boiled water. Stir until well combined.

Add salt to taste, give it a quick stir and place the chicken legs in the sauce, top side down. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the temperature to low/medium and put on the lid. Let the chicken simmer gently while you prepare the rice.

Parboil the rice

Wash the rice by moving it around in a bowl of water, draining the water, adding fresh water and repeating this process a couple of times.

Boil the water in a pot, together with 2 tbsp of salt. Then pour in the rice. The temperature of the water will drop. Bring it back to boiling as soon as possible. Let the rice parboil for 4 minutes, then drain it in a colander and rinse it with cool water. This will wash off any excess salt and interrupt the cooking process.

Put a non-stick pot over medium heat and add 3 tbsp vegetable oil. Swirl the pot to distribute it evenly. Transfer the parboiled rice into the pot in a heap shape and poke three holes in it using the back of a wooden spoon. This helps the rice cook evenly. Don’t add any water. The moisture in the rice corns is enough to steam it, resulting in amazingly fluffy rice. 

Once you see steam rising from the pot cover the lid with a clean kitchen towel, which will absorb the steam. Firmly close the lid, reduce the temperature to low and let the rice steam for 45 minutes without opening the lid.

Turn the chicken

Turn the chicken legs in the sauce, allowing them to cook evenly. 

Caramelise the barberries

Rinse the dried barberries in a sieve and let them drain dry. Heat the remaining vegetable oil in a small pan over low to medium heat. Add the barberries and sugar to it and stir swiftly for about a minute. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the slivered pistachios and almonds to them and set them aside for later.

Arrange the rice

Once the rice has steamed transfer half of it into a bowl and add the saffron water that has by now melted. Carefully combine both until the rice is evenly yellow.

Transfer the other half of the rice to a serving plate. In the bottom of the pot you will find some mouth-watering tahdig, the crispy part of the rice that Iranians fight over. You can serve it separately.

Arrange the yellow rice on top of the white rice. Decorate the rice with the caramelised barberries, pistachios and almonds.

Serve and enjoy

The chicken is cooked to perfection by now. If the sauce is too watery simply let it simmer without lid for a couple of minutes. Taste and add more salt if needed. Remove the onions and serve the Chicken with its sauce and the Zereshk Polo.

Now you can serve your Zereshk Polo with the chicken and sauce (khoresht-e morgh). You can serve some yogurt with it, too. Enjoy!

Zereshk Polo ba Morgh recipe | Persian Saffron Barberry Rice with Poussin | igotitfrommymaman.com #persianfood #persianrecipes

Zereshk Polo ba Morgh recipe | Persian Saffron Barberry Rice with Poussin | igotitfrommymaman.com #persianfood #persianrecipes
5 from 2 votes
Print

Zereshk Polo ba Morgh

Course Main Course
Cuisine Persian
Keyword Barberry Saffron Rice, Chicken, Khoreshe Morgh, Persian Chicken, Zereshk Polo
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 4 people

Ingredients

For the Zereshk Polo

  • 2 cup basmati rice (400g)
  • 1/2 cup dried barberries (30g)
  • 2 tbsp slivered pistachios
  • 2 tbsp slivered almonds
  • 1 potato (optional)
  • 5 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 3 tsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp salt

For the Chicken (Khoresh-e Morgh)

  • 2.2 lbs chicken or poussin (1kg)
  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree (55g)
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cups water (470 ml)
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • Salt to taste

Instructions

Bloom the saffron for the rice

  1. Grind the saffron threads using pestle and mortar. Alternatively you can use the bottom of a glass and crush the saffron threads on a plate. Transfer the ice cubes into a glass. Sprinkle the ground saffron for the rice over the ice cubes. Set it aside in a warm place. This will allow the melting ice cubes to absorb the maximum amount of colour and flavour of the saffron, giving the rice a bright yellow colour.

Prepare the chicken

  1. Heat a frying pan and add the vegetable oil. Once the oil is hot carefully place the chicken legs or poussin in the pan. Turn them after a few minutes using kitchen tongues and let the other sides brown for a further couple of minutes.

  2. Peel and quarter the onion. Transfer what is left of the vegetable oil you used to brown the chicken into the pot you want to stew the chicken in. Let it heat up to medium temperature and add the onion quarters to it. Sauté them for a few minutes, then add the tomato paste, turmeric and black pepper. Stir the paste for a few seconds, then add the freshly boiled water. Stir until well combined.

  3. Add salt to taste, give it a quick stir and place the chicken legs in the sauce, top side down. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the temperature to low/medium and put on the lid. Let the chicken simmer gently while you prepare the rice.

Parboil the rice

  1. Wash the rice by moving it around in a bowl of water, draining the water, adding fresh water and repeating this process a couple of times.

  2. Boil the water in a pot, together with 2 tbsp of salt. Then pour in the rice. The temperature of the water will drop. Bring it back to boiling as soon as possible. Let the rice parboil for 4 minutes, then drain it in a colander and rinse it with cool water. This will wash off any excess salt and interrupt the cooking process.

  3. Put a non-stick pot over medium heat and add 3 tbsp vegetable oil. Swirl the pot to distribute it evenly. Transfer the parboiled rice into the pot in a heap shape and poke three holes in it using the back of a wooden spoon. This helps the rice cook evenly. Don’t add any water. The moisture in the rice corns is enough to steam it, resulting in amazingly fluffy rice. 

  4. Once you see steam rising from the pot cover the lid with a clean kitchen towel, which will absorb the steam. Firmly close the lid, reduce the temperature to low and let the rice steam for 45 minutes without opening the lid.

Turn the chicken

  1. Turn the chicken legs in the sauce, allowing them to cook evenly. 

Caramelise the barberries

  1. Rinse the dried barberries in a sieve and let them drain dry. Heat the remaining vegetable oil in a small pan over low to medium heat. Add the barberries and sugar to it and stir swiftly for about a minute. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the slivered pistachios and almonds to them and set them aside for later.

Arrange the rice

  1. Once the rice has steamed transfer half of it into a bowl and add the saffron water that has by now melted. Carefully combine both until the rice is evenly yellow.

  2. Transfer the other half of the rice to a serving plate. In the bottom of the pot you will find some mouth-watering tahdig, the crispy part of the rice that Iranians fight over. You can serve it separately.

  3. Arrange the yellow rice on top of the white rice. Decorate the rice with the caramelised barberries, pistachios and almonds.

Serve and enjoy

  1. The chicken is cooked to perfection by now. If the sauce is too watery simply let it simmer without lid for a couple of minutes. Taste and add more salt if needed. Remove the onions and serve the Saffron Chicken with its sauce and the Zereshk Polo. 

  2. Now you can serve your Zereshk Polo with the chicken and sauce (khoresht-e morgh). You can serve some yogurt with it, too. Enjoy!


I hope you enjoyed this recipe! If you have any questions please let me know in the comments, I’m always happy to help. 

I’d love to see your Zereshk Polo! Feel free to tag me with @igotitfrommymaman on Facebook or Insta so I can take a look and give you a thumbs up!

Wanna save this recipe for later? You can print out the printable version above or pin it to your recipe board.

Looking for more Persian recipes? Here are my Persian classics!

Do you wanna learn more about Persian cooking? Sign up to Maman’s recipe mail so you will get notified of new recipes on the blog.

Thanks for stopping by! Enjoy your meal!

5 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Having recently discovered Persian food through Iranian friends, I decided to give it a go myself and started with this delicious dish that turned out amazing!
    I love the way each step is super well described and easy to follow! I also really appreciated being given different alternatives to make this dish (I did a simple tahdig with no potatoes and decided to go for a more tomatoey sauce) and it was great!
    Such a colourful and tasty recipe, I recommend everyone to try it 🙂

    1. Dear Amélie, I’m so glad you enjoyed the recipe. It’s always so nice to hear when people discover Persian food and enjoy it enough to recreate it in their own kitchen. Thank you so much for taking the time to write such a wonderful review. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.